Masquerade parties were at their height in the 18th and 19th centuries. Although the popularity is not the same in the 21st century, masquerade balls are making a comeback. Costumes for a masquerade involve more than store bought monster masks. A masquerade costume utilizes fancy clothing and elaborate masks to create the look. Knowing a few costume ideas will enable you to create an easy masquerade costume to suit your own tastes.
Instead of using a silicone mask that looks like something you would find on a movie set, use a traditional masquerade mask. Look for pre-made masks at a costume shop, or make your own with a visit to your local craft store. One way to make your own is to purchase a half or full masquerade mask at the craft store. Decorate the mask to match your costume idea using acrylic paints, sequins, glitter, ribbons or feathers. Use hot glue to attach decorations. Attach some ribbon to the sides to tie the mask on or attach a ribbon covered dowel rod to hold the mask to your face.
The second option is to make a Venetian mask. Cover your face in petroleum jelly. Then, dip strips of plaster cloth in water and use them to cover your face, leaving your eyes uncovered. If you chose a full-face mask, leave the nose uncovered, as well. Once the strips dry, remove the mask and decorate it the same way you would a store-bought mask. Use ribbon on the sides to tie the mask on or use a ribbon covered dowel rod to hold it to your face.
Before making your mask, it's best to decide what costume the mask will accompany. One easy idea is a black cat. Don a solid colored black dress. Accessorize with black heels, black dress gloves, black pantyhose and a diamond choker necklace. If desired, affix a black cat tail -- found at costume shops -- to the back of the dress. Finish the look with a pair of black cat ears purchased at your local costume shop, as well. Alternatively, for a man, wear a black tuxedo.
To add coordinating decorations to a homemade mask, add whiskers. For the whiskers, cut pieces of wire and attach them to the front of the mask before decorating. Attach the whiskers to the front of the mask using hot glue or additional plaster strips, in the case of the Venetian mask.
A popular costume found at the original masquerade parties was a jester. Create a jester for your costume party using store bought clothing. If possible, purchase a jester costume from the local costume store to save the time of sewing. If one is not available to you, purchase a spandex, full-body suit from the local dance supply store. Choose a bright colored suit and add brightly colored shoes to the outfit. For the mask, create a geometric harlequin pattern. Paint elongated triangles in two to three complementing colors that match the costume. Some color ideas are green and purple or red, white and black.
Another easy costume is a prince or princess costume. For a prince, wear a black tuxedo. Add a blue or red sash across your body made from a piece of satin fabric. For a princess, wear a ball gown of your choosing. Choose a dress that is long and has a full skirt. For either costume, finish the look with a crown or tiara, which you can find at a costume shop. The mask requires little detail to pull off the look. Choose solid colors that match the costume. Add glitter or feathers around the edge of the mask to embellish it slightly.
A pirate costume is a simple costume for a masquerade that is not quite as formal. For men or women, wear a pair of brown cargo pants tucked into a pair of knee-high black leather boots. Add a white puffy shirt and large leather belt. Tie a long piece of cloth around your head, similar to how you would tie a bandana. Wear large hoop earrings. For the mask, add details such as a scar or tattoo. Add an eye patch to the mask by cutting the strings off a store bought eye patch and hot gluing it over one of the mask's eyes.
- Photo Credit Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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